Hello wip 05

Progress is slowing down – I could nitpick at details all day! I repainted her face at least twice and I think I’m happy with it now. I think. 😀 The dragon got a bit of a makeover, too. I bet I can finish this one within another good painting session or two. I’m pretty happy with it overall. Painting more interesting light sources (or rather, ANY light source) is becoming a tad bit easier, too. Something tells me it’ll never be easy, though.

Moon & Kamen (done)

At last, the series is complete!

The whole thing started after Jim and I watched a few episodes of the Japanese-made live action Sailor Moon show on YouTube. Drawing Sailor Moon coincided with me getting serious about art when I was around 12/13ish. I thought it’d be fun to revisit the characters, having not drawn them in some 15 years or so now. I started with Moon originally but mid-way through, got a great idea for Mercury and painted her instead. She became the first in the series that would eventually include all of the main cast, and would occupy me from March to May. As I worked on the others, I kept revisiting this one, starting it over a couple times and changing its direction each time.

This summer was really a bad time for painting, though – my Dad came to visit in May, Jim and I looked at an endless stream of real estate in June, I went home to Illinois for a week and a half, I worked at GenCon with some friends in Indiana, I took up evening exercise (in addition to my hour in the morning) in effort to kick start some weight loss, my job sent me to CA for a few days, and then I was sick with the flu for a week – it’s just been nuts, and I wasn’t able to paint regularly for most of the summer.

But the best time of year is here at last! Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons. I feel inspired, and free time has returned. I was finally able to finish this series!

Moon wip 05

Inspiration has come roaring back! Wish I could say the same about my health, as I am still coughing as if trying to expel my lungs. I’m well enough to sit at my computer though, and that’s all that truly matters. Tonight, I reworked Tuxedo Kamen’s entire torso area, moved his arm back. The area between their torsos was really cluttered and this helped open it up and show off the rose better. It also added some more drama to his figure. I also brought in some more reds, as seen in the cloak underside, Moon’s bow and hair gem, and the rose (which was formerly black – I will miss the black, but the red really pops).

I should be able to finish this one tomorrow – I’m excited!! Tomorrow is the first day of a 3-day weekend. I hope to:
– PAINT like CRAZY and finish at least 2 paintings!
– Fire up the BBQ for some delicious MEATS
– Get lots of rest in between
– Clean up some of the mess I made while sick and slacking on housework
– Maybe play some games, if there’s any time left 😀

Moon wip 04

Remember this from May?!

I haven’t forgotten! Here’s yet another reworking of it. I’m finally happy with it and will (hopefully) be taking it to completion this weekend, health permitting. I feel some crap settling in my lungs, I hope it’s just a temporary thing…

Hello wips

Health held up well this evening, so once I was done tweaking Cyber Berry I started something new! I was poking around my old art for inspiration and found this older painting of mine from 2007:

I thought it might be fun to “revisit” the idea. Here’s the sketch I roughed out in Photoshop:

The sketch went fast! I’m not a fan of super-refined sketches. I like to paint, not refine lineart, so I just keep these loose.

It helped, too, that I had a clear vision for what I wanted the painting to be. I spent only about 10 minutes sketching and then moved onto putting down colors on a layer under the sketch (the brown-colored layer). Once I had the colors roughed in I made a backup copy of the sketch then merged the sketch into my colors.

Now that I’ve established the light sources, the figures, the color palette, and the general composition, it’s time to refine.

I’ve become a big fan of two key workflow innovations:
1. Paint everything on the same layer (the bars on the window are the only thing on their own layer), because doing so allows edges to blend naturally which seems to better mimic real life and real painting
2. Rough out everything equally – I now try to establish all major aspects of my light sources, palette, and composition before moving on. This lets me see the painting as a whole (even if it’s rough) before I continue. No more painting the figure and then starting the background later and hoping it fits. Now everything arrives at “done” at the same time, and I think my overall painting quality has improved as a result (not to mention my speed – it’s much faster to establish, then refine than it is to make my plans as I paint and then toss my paint and repaint over and over)

Here, I started with her face and worked my way out, fixing up her hair, dress, the books behind her, the dragon in the window, and the details of her dress’s fabric along the way.

Happy with the progress so far, I continued with another pass on details, refining the fabric, the dragon, and Astrid herself a bit more.

Aside from a brief period of time where her face was majorly hideous (I actually considered scrapping the whole thing over it, it was that hideous) , this has been a really smooth-sailing kind of painting. I’m glad I pushed through the “omg it’s so UGLY” phase that many paintings inevitably go through.

It’s really rare that a new painting goes this well in the early stages for me. Usually I end up getting this far and then scrapping half of it (or all of it). I’m going to get to bed early tonight as I’m still recovering from being sick, but I’m really excited to continue my work on this!

Cyber Berry wip 03

Lols at my previous posts where I was so enthusiastic and ready to paint again. Little did I know I was about to come down with the FLU FROM HELL! Today is my first day out of bed for any meaningful amount of time since falling ill with plague Friday afternoon. (I believe it is now Wednesday evening, though time lost meaning in the sleep/wake up feeling like shit/sleep more cycle).

As such, I haven’t painted since the last WIP was posted (nearly a week ago!). Today, though, in effort to get used to sitting at a computer again, I resumed work on “cyber berry” (who really needs a better name than that). I think she might be done soon.